Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A message from Charlie: "Bike rides and legos with my dad"

On the bike rides I like when my dad does tricks and I like when we race eachother.

In legos, I love when him and me make little spaceships and thingymabobs and stuff like that.

I love when my dad and me play wrestle game and I love when he tells stories to me.

Thanks for reading this message - Charlie

another good read

if you crave "stuff," read this.

"We've found that there's just such an emphasis on having things, that you don't realize there's a stress cost, the cost of maintaining those things. Although it seems like you have less convenience," he explains, "you also have less stress."

Thursday, May 22, 2008

you're going to hate me for this

My left knee (IT Band) has been bothering me since the 2006 Boston Marathon. Uber PT Mike Roberts got me through it, but I've never been able to put in any significant running miles in since, and this spring even middle distance bike rides start to hurt. This past January, Mike referred me to Dr. Lyle Micheli at Children's Hospital in Boston and the appointment was set for May 21 (yesterday), 5:30 pm.

The day before the appointment I thought that perhaps CJ would like to come with me as he loves the (any) city. So much to see in such a compact area I guess, he's excited by all the people, cyclists, cars, buses, buildings, and businesses. He's just a country mouse afterall. Then I realized that the Red Sox were playing the lowly KC Royals, and perhaps we'd walk over to Fenway if it wasn't too far, maybe even try and pick up some SRO tickets.

Out of the appointment at 6:25, we headed up Brookline Ave towards Fenway, with CJ completely unaware of where we were going. He's not really into the Red Sox or baseball, he'd rather watch cars on the Mass Pike than the game if he had a seat on top of the Green Monster, but I figured if the price was right (read CHEAP) we'd give it a shot.

We lapped the park and CJ liked the light towers and Citgo sign, but wasn't especially thrilled when asked if he wanted to go inside. I wanted him to see it anyway, so I asked about game day tix. "They start at 50 bucks" the ticket man said through the malfunctioning intercom thing. No thanks, the kid isn't that interested. Just then I heard the national anthem echoing across Lansdowne St.

Charlie was asking for food so we started lap two of the stadium, this time with two objectives: find a couple of hot dogs and a scalper willing to negotiate off the list price now that the game was underway. Right in front of Ace Ticket I spotted a well dressed man working a Blackberry in one hand and holding 4 tickets fanned out in the other about 15 feet away. Another man in jeans and a baseball hat with a little girl at his side was talking to him and I heard him say "are you sure?"

"Yes - I work for the Red Sox and don't need them"
"Well I only need two" as he glanced at his daughter.

My pace quickened. From the opposite direction, a heavy set man in head to toe Red Sox apparrel approached. Sports fans can pick up the scent of free tickets faster and further away than sharks can detect the scent of blood in the water.

"Than just take two" said Mr. Blackberry. I never looked up at this man's face. It could have been Theo Epstein himself. My eyes were locked on those tickets, which were now being fanned out into two separate groupings of two tickets each.

The guy with the little girl grasped a pair.

"Ok, cool, thanks" he said.

Just then, from out of absolutely nowhere, a second hand was on the other pair of tickets: "I'll take the other pair." And just that fast, all four tickets were gone and Mr. Blackberry was across the street and moving quickly away from the park.

It all happened so fast. I was 20 feet up the side walk walking stride for stride with the guy and his daughter before it sank in that it had been my hand on that second pair of tickets. I was the one who had laid claim to them. I hadn't even broke stride as I scooped them up.

Upon closer inspection the tickets were infield grandstand seats, section 22, row 8, directly behind home plate but off to the third base side a bit. I casually looked at Charlie and said "I think the hot dogs inside the park are better... let's try one of those."

Monday, May 19, 2008

Hi-Viz Clothing is MP

My commute is pretty ho hum... 11.3 miles each way on mostly scenic roads. Net uphill on the way in, downhill on the way home, but both ways offer some good climbing. I've been doing this ride for 5 years or so, 3 times per week on average and let's just say that the excitement isn't there like it used to be, but I do recognize that I am lucky to have the health and resources available to make it happen.

Three weeks ago I was on the fixed gear bike heading to work when this guy on an older litespeed blazes by me. I had seen this rider before, but usually in the afternoon. He's always in full length tights, always with the same one size too big hi-viz Pearl windbreaker, always motoring along pretty good but he was usually headed the other way so how do you really know, right? Well, here he goes by me like a shot on this long downward pitched false flat that follows the final major downhill to work. I'm spun out in the 42/16 and who knows how long this guy had been hunting me down. "Take advantage of an undergeared fixie" I thought and vowed my revenge next week on my geared bike.

Exactly one week later riding the cross bike I turn onto the hill that precedes the descent I mentioned above. There's Mr. Day glow about 300 meters ahead of me.... my turn to lock the tractor beam on. The effort to catch him was massive, he didn't see me at first but wasn't just cruising along. As we made the left turn towards the top of the hill he spotted me when he checked to see if the coast was clear of traffic. He backed off a bit, and I rode up and asked him if he was commuting or just riding. He settled in behind, said "just a morning ride" and rode my wheel while I tried to recover from the first part of the hill.

There is perhaps 90 seconds of flat road between that left hand turn and a little chopper that brings you up to the top of the final descent into work. As we hit the base of this rise, Johnny Litespeed swings out and drops the hammer, taking off up the hill in what can only be described as an "attack." I was pretty tired and could not respond fast enough to catch any advantage from a draft either up the hill or as we began the descent. He was pulling away, and while doing so continually checked over his shoulder to see where I was. He'd turn back forward and put his head down. There is no doubt this guy was trying to loose me and for the most part, he did.

Not that I'm super competitive or anything, but while commuting last week I admit that I was looking over my shoulder more than usual to see if he was coming up. Never saw him ahead or behind me. The nerves were high for a rematch.

This morning, as I crest the top of the hill on my fixie he goes by, and drops into the super tuck to try and get away.

Not this time.

The lack of a taller gear and the ability to glide in a compact tuck meant that he was going to gap me on the descent and he did. He glanced back at the base of the hill and put his head down again, keeping the pace high on the false flat down hill. After what seemed like forever, I reached the base of the steep part and went into Eddy Merckx 180 rpm spin cycle mode. It took me about 1.5 miles but I brought him back just as we reached the entrance to work.

What a great ride.

See you tomorrow Mr. Baggy Jacket?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

movies I never have seen

For many a year, one of my claims to fame was that I had never seen The Wizard of Oz. I never thought it to be a big deal as a kid, I didn't really know what all the fuss was about but as I approached young adulthood people seemed more and more facinated bW the fact that I had never seen it. Whenever the discussion turned to things Oz I always took the opportunity to hijack the conversation with my somewhat unique perspective: that of a Oz neophyte. It didn't take me long to figure out that I could leverage the situation to my advantage by turning the discussion to my incomplete childhood as I certainly could not share rememberances of Dorothy, the monkeys or the Ommpaloompas. It was much easier just to make it all about me.

I still haven't seen it, but people don't seem to care as much.

No Charlie and the Chocolate Factory either.

head scratcher

The internet is great for finding things that make you go "hmmm...."

Under a gallery of photos titled "American cars you can't find in America," I found this picture:

I recall a clear thought I had one day in my dorm during my freshman year at UNH: "I know that day glo neon clothing fashion will fade away but I'm getting inpatient for that day to arrive."

I'm feeling the same about the end of the SUV and the resurrection of the station wagon. I know it will happen, but I'm getting inpatient.